Bigger Thomas has been sentences to death.
He sends Max away.
He felt Max’s hand on his arm; then it left. He heard the steel door clang shut and he knew that he was alone. He did not stir; he lay still, feeling that by being still he would stave off feeling and thinking, and that was what he wanted above all right now. Slowly, his body relaxed. In the darkness and silence he turned over on his back and crossed his hands upon his chest. His lips moved in a whimper of despair. (Perennial Library Copy pg. 379)
On his back.
Is Bigger preparing himself for the coffin?